Kabateck Brown Kellner is now just Kabateck.
The prominent Los Angeles-based plaintiffs firm, whose leadership has shifted over the years, announced this week a new name and downtown office location.
Founded in 2002 by name partners Brian Kabateck, Michael Brown and Richard Kellner, KBK gained a reputation for taking on high-profile cases against leading technology companies. Brown, a former managing partner of KBK who now has his own firm in Irvine, California, resigned from KBK in 2009. He was replaced by another Brown, former KBK name partner Sue Brown, who left the firm in 2012. (The two Browns are unrelated.)
Kellner switched to an of counsel role at the firm after he joined Jacoby & Meyers’ mass torts group in May 2015. Kellner, who remains of counsel at KBK, earlier this year launched his own firm in Los Angeles.
“I think that the name change gives us the flexibility to have partners to grow without constantly having to worry about any names,” Kabateck said. “In 2018, less is more. The firms with [fewer] names say a lot about what they are and who they are.”
The American Lawyer reported this week on a spate of rebranding initiatives among large firms around the country. While KBK has never been a legal behemoth—the firm currently has 10 lawyers, including three partners—it has now staked out space at U.S. Bank Tower, one of the most iconic skyscrapers in Los Angeles.
“We just felt with the move it was the right time to make [a name] change,” Kabateck said.
Besides Brown and Kellner, KBK has shed other partners in recent years. Joshua Haffner left the firm in mid-2016 and now has his own three-lawyer personal injury shop in Los Angeles.
Kabateck said his namesake, full-service contingent fee firm will focus on representing plaintiffs in class action, insurance bad faith, mass torts, personal injury and wrongful death cases, as well as disaster and pharmaceutical litigation.
“There are a very few firms that do insurance bad faith, there are very few firms that do mass disaster litigation. … We do class actions, but we also do business cases on a contingency,” said Kabateck when asked about his strategy in competing against other firms.
Kabateck, a key donor to Xavier Becerra’s Democratic bid for California attorney general, is now representing a group of former Dickstein Shapiro partners suing Blank Rome for $4 million in unreturned capital.
“I like to think with my background, reputation and the number of people that I know, including the fact that I am currently the president of [the Los Angeles] County Bar, I have an edge on name recognition,” Kabateck said.